Mr Ratcliffe’s love for his wife has been a visible source of motivation. “It’s not a Mills & Boon story,” he told the New Statesman during one of his hunger strikes. “But I do think it’s important that she knows, always, that I’m there for her.”
‘I suppose we can stop being a moment in history’
With his wife safely returned to the UK, Mr Ratcliffe can resume a family life that had been on pause for six years. The day before she was due to return, he spoke to TV camera crews outside his home, with Gabriella at his side, and said that the next few days would hold “a bit of tidying, perhaps directed by Mummy,” and “a cup of tea.”
“I suppose we can stop being a moment in history,” he told broadcasters, “and start being a normal family again.”
The couple had met through friends in 2007, when Ms Zaghari, as she was then, was studying for a master’s degree in communication management at London Metropolitan University.
The first meeting, Mr Ratcliffe once told BBC News, was “a really easy conversation. We just talked and talked and talked.”
It felt, he said, “like coming home” – a feeling that, at long last, the family can enjoy once more.